The Construction Electrician (CE) rating was established in 1958 from the Construction Electrician’s Mate rating, which had been created ten years earlier by combining several service ratings within the Electrician’s Mate, Construction Battalion rating: Line and Station, General, and Communications.
As the rating title implies, CEs are primarily responsible for building, operating, and maintaining both power-production facilities and electrical distribution grids at Naval installations. But their work is not limited to these areas. They also work with telephone systems (installation, repair, and maintenance, including switchboards), lighting, PA systems, and alarm systems, as well as the various relays, solenoids, switches, motors, and batteries associated with them.
Because Construction Electricians must frequently string overhead cables, one of the qualifications they must meet is being able to climb to the top of a 35-foot wooden pole using the spiked boots alone—the pole does not have steps, pegs, or any other type of foothold that can be used during the ascent and descent. Once at the top, they must hook up a safety strap, make a complete circle around the pole in both directions, disconnect the strap, and descend the pole, all of which (including the climb upward) must be completed in under six minutes.
Sailors who aspire to join the roughly 1,200 men and women currently serving in the CE rating should also be aware that anyone who signs up and qualifies for a career as a Construction Electrician is enrolling in a five-year enlistment program. This type of commitment is necessary because many CEs will have to undergo additional, specialized training to earn the Seabee combat warfare specialist qualification.